September 14, 2018

Dear Santa Cruz Community Member,

Several things of note are taking shape at the City. I’m delighted to share with you that on Tuesday of this week, we launched our first-ever online tool to help community members request City services. Also this week, the Council approved moving forward with the proposed library/mixed-use project, and received quite a bit of feedback from the community regarding a proposed rental ordinance.

The Community Request for Service Portal (CRSP) is a new online tool that makes it easier to submit requests regarding issues such as traffic concerns, sewer spills, or property code violations. Previously requests were made through various City web pages that used different formats for information, which made it inefficient both for community members trying to request service, as well as for staff trying to respond appropriately. The new CRSP system is accessible from the City’s website, or via mobile application 

For those who aren’t familiar with the problem facing the downtown library, the downtown branch was allocated $23 million from Measure S library bond money to create a modern library, which won’t even cover all of the needs to bring the current building up to code and modernize it – much less upgrade the program space or experience. Also facing the downtown is the problem of a shrinking pool of parking, due to development of surface parking lots, as well as the ongoing problem of a lack of housing. With all of that in mind, City staff developed the concept for a mixed-use building that would address the library’s needs as well as provide parking and housing.

In the action taken by Council this week, the Downtown Library Advisory Committee’s (DLAC) recommendation to include the downtown branch in a mixed-use facility was approved, as well as the first steps to move the project from concept to an actual plan. There is no design for the building yet; the community will be involved in whatever design process takes shape.

This week the Council also considered a new ordinance that would have amended Chapter 21.03 of the muni code to require relocation assistance for tenants displaced due to a large rent increase. The ordinance resulted from the Council’s Housing Blueprint Subcommittee’s recommendations, and was met with impassioned responses from residents representing a wide range of perspectives. As a result, the Council voted to delay a decision on the ordinance until closer to the election, when Measure M will be decided.

I hope that you’ll take a minute to familiarize yourself with the new CRSP system. The purpose for streamlining service requests is so that we can be more responsive to serving the needs of our community.

 Sincerely,

Martin Bernal, City Manager